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TV Architecture Supporting Multiple 3D


Anthony Vetro, Wang-He Lou and Mark Flynn

TR2010-006 March 2010

This paper describes changes to the television architecture to support 3D video, with emphasis
on the receiver and display processor. It is expected that multiple 3D services will be available
in the near future. While the current 3-D Ready televisions are able to display uncompressed
stereoscopic video signals, the capabilities are limited and need to be expanded. To enable more
diverse sources of content, the television will also need to handle compressed stereoscopic for-
mats from various delivery channels. Components of the television architecture that are impacted
by new content sources are discussed, and standardization efforts that aim to achieve interoper-
ability with the television receiver and display functionalities are also highlighted.

IEEE International Conference on Consumer Electronics

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TV Architecture Supporting Multiple 3D Services
Anthony Vetro1, Wang-He Lou2 and Mark Flynn2
Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs, Cambridge, MA, USA
Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, Irvine, CA, USA

Abstract — This paper describes changes to the television

architecture to support 3D video, with emphasis on the
receiver and display processor. It is expected that multiple 3D A high-level overview the TV architecture including receiving
services will be available in the near future. While the current and display processing components that supports multiple 2D
3D-Ready televisions are able to display uncompressed and 3D services is shown in Figure 1. There exist various
stereoscopic video signals, the capabilities are limited and sources of uncompressed content originating from external
need to be expanded. To enable more diverse sources of devices such as Blu-ray Disc players, gaming consoles, and
content, the television will also need to handle compressed set-top boxes associated with cable, satellite or IPTV services.
stereoscopic formats from various delivery channels. The connection from these devices to the TV is typically
Components of the television architecture that are impacted through HDMI or another uncompressed digital interface. The
by new content sources are discussed, and standardization system is also designed to accept compressed video associated
efforts that aim to achieve interoperability with the television with terrestrial broadcast or cable services. Additionally, the
receiver and display functionalities are also highlighted. TV may also consider support of Internet content that is
streamed from an external server directly to the home.
I. INTRODUCTION The system is partitioned into five sections including the
There is a growing interest in delivery of 3D content to the RF front-end, demodulation, 2D/3D decoder, 2D/3D audio-
home. Production of 3D cinema content is steadily increasing, visual (A/V) processor and 2D/3D display. Additionally, a
and there are already devices supporting stereoscopic display micro-processor operating the necessary software controls the
available to the consumer. To facilitate interoperable services overall operation of all sections. In the following, we focus on
to the home, standards for production distribution and digital the decoder, A/V processor and display functionality in the
interfaces are being developed or amended. context of both 3D-Ready and 3D-Capable TVs.
Digital televisions (DTV) have traditionally been designed HDMI or other uncompressed I/F
Uncompressed Uncompressed
to accept as input uncompressed content from other receivers 3D Sources AV Input

or sources as well as terrestrial broadcast services. In recent 3D Eyewear 3D Eyewear Controller

3D AV 3D
years, there is an increased number of services that the DTV is Processor

expected to handle (e.g., from cable or Internet) and sources Terrestrial
of uncompressed content (e.g., from gaming consoles or Cable
Demod Switch 3D
optical disc players). Additionally, the DTV architecture will 2D AV
also need to be augmented to handle 3D content as well, both Return
Access 2D
compressed and uncompressed formats. We make a Stereo
Streaming Compressed Audio
distinction between two classes of DTV devices: Sources AV Input Processor

 3D-Ready TV: can identify uncompressed 3D content, TV Micro-Processor


properly process and display a standard 3D

image/video format. Figure 1. Block diagram of TV architecture supporting
 3D-Capable TV: can identify compressed 3D content, multiple 3D services and content sources.
properly decode, process and display a standard 3D III. 3D-READY TV
distribution format; this class of TV may simply be
As defined earlier, 3D-Ready TVs are capable of accepting as
referred to as 3D TV in the future. input an uncompressed format of a stereoscopic video signal
There are already 3D-Ready displays in the market with and rendering it. While it is expected that future 3D-Ready
certain capabilities. These capabilities will be briefly reviewed TV’s will be capable of processing multiple uncompressed 3D
and issues on making these devices compatible with new input formats, there are a few issues that need to be addressed
services will be discussed. The migration to 3D-Capable to ensure that legacy devices that do not support a multitude
devices will also be considered. New 3D display processing of formats beyond their native display capability could still be
capabilities will also be addressed. utilized in the context of new 3D services.
The first issue is that the first generation of 3D-Ready TVs on the compression format, there would be changes required
that entered the market only support a limited set of input to the decoder and display processing sections.
video formats. In most cases, only the native display format It is expected that 3D services would utilize advanced
would be supported, e.g., checkerboard for DLP-based codecs such as MPEG-4/H.264 AVC [2]. Two candidate
devices or line interleaving for some LCD-based devices. formats are considered in this paper, including full-resolution
Therefore, in order for these TVs to operate in a 3D mode, the stereo and frame-compatible formats.
source material must be delivered in the native display format. The advantage of frame-compatible formats is that existing
This could be accomplished in one of two ways. 2D decoders could be utilized. Depending on the frame
One way is to ensure that service (or source) provides a 3D packing arrangement, the reconstructed frame would then
format that exactly matches the display capabilities. However, undergo conversion to the native display format. This is
with multiple native formats in different types of displays, this similar to the conversion discussed earlier in the context of
might be impossible to achieve in practice. In general, it 3D-Ready TVs, but rather than relying on external
should be assumed that the service format is different than that conversion, the conversion would be an integral part of the
of the native display format in most cases. display processor. Since the reconstructed image format
An alternative would be to perform a conversion between would be specified by the service, the number of conversion
the format associated with a particular service and the native possibilities would be limited and pre-defined. While the
display format. This would either place an additional burden adoption of frame-compatible formats would enable faster
on the source to perform the necessary conversion, or would deployment of 3D services, resolution of the video is
require an external conversion box as an interface between the compromised prior to delivery and further degradation may
source and the 3D-Ready TV. When the two formats have occur in the conversion process to prepare the stereo signal for
different sub-sampling structures, the quality of the display.
conversion needs to be considered. Moreover, since there are An alternative to the frame-compatible format is full-
only a few native 3D display formats supported in 3D-Ready resolution stereo, e.g., as coded by a standard such as MVC.
TVs today and it is not very difficult to perform conversion to In this case, the decoder would need to be upgraded to support
these formats by sources, a new 3D video service could be the selected compression format, and conversion from the full-
promoted with already existing 3D-Ready TV products. resolution stereo to the native display format would be
The second major issue is that existing 3D-Ready TVs performed in the display processor. A conversion from full-
typically support an interface that was not specifically resolution stereo to the native display format will generally
designed for 3D, e.g., HDMI v1.3. While such interfaces are ensure the highest quality, especially compared to the frame-
capable of supporting the required bandwidth for a wide compatible formats which may potentially go through two
variety of 3D formats, there is no signaling in place to identify conversions (re-sampling) processes prior to display.
the format being sent. To rectify this situation, modifications To support 3D content delivery through non-real-time
to the existing interface specifications would need to be made. (NRT) services, the system would additionally require storage
The changes should be minor so that existing devices could be and copy protection of the content. Similar requirements
upgraded with a relatively simple firmware update. The main would also apply for delivery models that download 3D
functionality enabled would be to identify the format of the content from Internet servers for time-shifted playback.
content so that the content could be correctly displayed. The above issues are being considered by standards
There are ongoing discussions within CEA and other development organizations that specify the delivery formats
standards development organizations responsible for delivery for respective services, e.g., SCTE for cable [3] and ATSC for
of 3D content to the home to address the above concerns [1]. terrestrial broadcast in the US. The decisions made by these
Solutions are certainly needed to ensure that these legacy organizations will directly impact the design and level of
devices that fueled initial momentum towards defining 3D
support for 3D content in future 3D-Capable TVs.
services are not alienated as 3D services become available
through different distribution channels. V. CONCLUDING REMARKS
IV. 3D-CAPABLE TV As 3D services are introduced, the TV architecture will
TVs that are 3D-Capable accept as input compressed streams continually evolve. Standards are needed to ensure
carrying 3D (stereoscopic) video signals in a standardized interoperability at various points in the delivery chain. While
format. In contrast to 3D-Ready TVs, 3D-Capable TVs new devices should be upgraded to support these new
integrate decoders that reconstruct the stereo signal from the standards, utilizing legacy devices must also be accounted for.
compressed stream and must be compliant in terms of
receiving capabilities to the respective services. The most REFERENCES
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